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Public attitudes to coronavirus: March update

This report presents findings from polling work, conducted in January and February 2021, on public attitudes to the coronavirus pandemic in Scotland.

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2. Wellbeing

The Coronavirus pandemic is having a wide range of impacts on personal wellbeing. This section presents data about the impacts of the pandemic on feelings such as happiness, loneliness, optimism and anxiety.

Levels of loneliness, anxiety and happiness

To understand social isolation, respondents were asked how much of the time during the past week they had felt lonely. As shown in Figure 6, the proportion who felt lonely at least some of the time (around one half of respondents) has remained relatively stable in January and February.

Figure 6: How often respondents felt lonely during the past week

Bar chart showing 55% felt lonely on 5-6 Jan and 54% in the most recent wave in February.

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1007-1038)

The survey included two of the Office for National Statistics' (ONS) wellbeing questions[3] to measure levels of anxiety and happiness. Respondents were asked how anxious, and how happy, they felt 'yesterday', on a scale of 0 to 10. As shown in Figure 7, throughout January and February, 38% to 39% reported 'high' anxiety (score of 6-10).

Figure 7: How anxious respondents felt yesterday on a scale of 0-10

Bar chart showing 39% had high levels and 40% had low levels of anxiety on 5-6 Jan. This has remained stable.

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1007-1038)

However, worry about the Coronavirus situation has fallen from 75% in January to 59% in February.

Figure 8: Proportion who agreed with the statement 'I feel worried about the Coronavirus situation'

Bar chart showing 75% agreed (30% strongly) on 5-6 Jan, which declined to 59% (16% strongly) on 23-24 Feb.

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1000-1038)

As shown in Figure 9, around half, or slightly more, of respondents reported 'high' or 'very high' levels of happiness (score of 7-10), and this has remained relatively stable in January and February. 19-21% felt low levels of happiness (score of 0-4), which has been stable since May.[4]

Figure 9: How happy respondents felt yesterday on a scale of 0-10

Bar chart showing 21% had low and 49% had high happiness on 5-6 Jan. This has remained stable.

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1007-1038)

Coping and optimism

Respondents were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement, 'I feel like I am coping okay during the current Coronavirus situation'. As shown in Figure 10, just over 60% agreed that they felt like they were coping okay.

Figure 10: Proportion who agreed to the statement 'I feel like I am coping okay during the current Coronavirus situation'

Bar chart showing agreement at 62% on 26-27 Jan and 73% on 23-24 Feb.

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1000-1022)

Levels of optimism (measured by the proportion who agree that things will start to get better soon) doubled from 30% at the start of January to 60% in the last week of February.

Figure 11: Proportion who agreed with the statement 'I'm sure that things will start to get better soon'

Bar chart showing agreement at 30% on 5-6 Jan and 60% in the most recent wave.

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1000-1038)

Views about school/childcare

With delayed returns to school announced, respondents with children aged 4-17 years were asked about the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with a range of statements about schooling and childcare. In mid-February just under two thirds of respondents agreed that they were worried about the impact of the changes to school and nursery opening on their child or children's mental health. 43% were worried about their child catching Coronavirus and 62% supported the phased return to school and nursery to better manage the risk of infection.

Figure 12: Proportion who agreed with the statements shown

Bar chart showing agreement for support of a phased return at 62% and worry about coping on a return to school at 35%

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey (9-10 Feb). Base Scottish parents with children aged 4-17 (n=150-155). Those who selected 'Not Applicable' are excluded from this summary.

Contact

Email: covid-19.behaviours@gov.scot

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